words from the world of biblical and ecclesiastical ideas. The passage from the old to the unborn generation leads through this region and its language. Whether Trakl's poems speak in a Christian fashion, to what extent and in what sense, in what way Trakl was a "Christian," what is meant here, and indeed generally, by "Christian," "Christianity," "Christendom" and "Christlike": all this involves essential questions. But their discussion hangs in a void so long as the site of his poetic work is not thoughtfully established. Besides. their discussion calls for a kind of thorough thinking to which neither the concept of a metaphysical nor those of a church-based theology are adequate.
To judge the Christianity of Trakl's poetic work, one would have to give thought above all to his last two poems, "Lament" and "Grodek." One would have to ask: If indeed this poet is so resolute a Christian, why docs he not, here in the extreme agony of his last saying, call out to God and Christ? Why does he instead name the "sister's swaying shadow" and call her "the greeting one"? Why does the song end with the name of the "unborn grandsons" and not with the confident hope of Christian redemption? Why does the sister appear also in the other late poem, "Lament" (191)? Why is eternity called there "the icy wave"? Is this Christian thinking? It is not even Christian despair.
But what does this "Lament" sing of? In these words, "Sister ... Look ...," does not an intimate ardent simplicity ring out, the simplicity of those who remain on the journey toward the "golden face of man," despite the danger of the utter withdrawal of all wholeness?
The rigorous unison of the many-voiced language in which Trakl's poetry speaks—and this means also: is silent—corresponds to apartness as the site of his work. Merely to keep this site rightly in mind makes demands on our thinking. We hardly dare in closing to ask for the location of this site.
When we took the first step in our discussion of Trakl's poetic work, the poem "Autumn Soul" (118), in its second-to-last